Monday, April 9, 2007

My 100th Post, the Boston Marathon and a Sick Day

My top-five favorite sick-day activities:

5. Doing slight weight exercises that help me remember being healthy.
4. Kleenex hunting. Where did I put my last one?
3. Eating CoCo Wheats (well, that’s an everyday activity).
2. Doing homework.
1. Watching “You’ve Got Mail” with commentary by Nora Ephron and Laura Schuler.

And that’s what I have done today—aside from the inevitable and evil pull of checking work email. But I have managed to avoid doing too much work.

But what has boggled this stuffy head is that the Indians-Angel series has moved to Milwaukee because of the weather in Cleveland. I 've only visited Wisconsin once, but it just doesn't strike me as a less wintry alternative to NEOhio. You really do learn something new everyday.

So, I may not be able to actually run today, but I can take this downtime at least to think about running. And to think about my upcoming race: the Cleveland 10-Miler.

Once I get out of the sick clouds and back on the road, I think my confidence about the race will improve. At least this time around, I’m confident that I can, in fact, finish the race I’m targeting. Although you will have to remind my I said that before the race on April 28!

I don’t, however, think I quite understand how to race longer distances just yet… last time I really held up on speed and slowed myself down every time I felt the urge to kick it into the next gear. So, over the coming weeks, I would really like to practice the balance between my conflicting mindsets and get a sense for pacing a 10-mile race (without overdoing it).

My last race pace was about 9:00/mile, which was a really relaxed pace with some complications near the end of the race that had nothing to do, really, with any long-legged dogs. So, I don’t think it would be too much to ask myself to shave off 30-60 seconds each mile. My long training runs (now that I’ve been taming myself!) have been around 8:00/mile, so at least it’s possible.

Another thing I will have to consider is whether I will do the drink-and-run. First: I’m well aware and appreciative of good hydration. On my last two long runs—10 and 12 miles—I’ve felt great at the end and not dehydrated at all. Don’t get me wrong—I was grateful for some swigs of Gatorade, but I never felt desperate for water during the run. And I think I’m getting a better feel for when I do need it and don’t.

The reason for my concern: my anxiety dried me up so badly at St. Malachi that by two miles I was thinking some of the rainy-day puddles looked really appealing. But when I finally had water around 2.5-3 miles, I had the worst stitch ever. In fact, I ran holding my side for the last 2+ miles. None of my anti-stitch therapies before or during the race made it go away. It wasn’t pretty.

And after the race, I was torn over whether the stitch was purely from the water or at least partially manufactured by my easy-to-psych-myself-out mind. It’s something I should practice just in case.

But enough about me: in one week, fantastic runners from around the world will converge on the East Coast to run from Hopkinton, Mass. to Boston in the Boston Marathon. All the best to Salty One and Papa Louie who will be running hard, kicking butt and taking names in Boston next week!


Papa Louie said...

I hope you do get out of the sick clouds soon so you can get out there and pratice more race hydration and pacing. And when you do get out remember to have fun. If you stop to drink it's ok, because it's more inportant to drink, than to save seconds.

The Salty One said...

First, feel better!! I was there a month or so ago--yuck!!

Second, Thanks for the well-wishes!! It really helps to have others in your corner!!

As for you and your big race coming up, I think you can run a 1:20 10 miler. I do worry you're still running your easy runs too fast, though. I'd like to see you drop it down to 9:00 pace (at the fastest) with one harder run a week. Just to put it in perspective, Chelle from, just ran a sub 3hour marathon (that's 6:50ish pace!) and runs 9:00 miles most days and so do I. At this point, you don't need much more speed work than 10 minutes easy, 20 minutes at a hard but steady pace (with steady actually being more beneficial than hard) and then 10 minutes easy. You would also benefit from one longer run a week--8-12 miles, but again at an easy pace. If you're really feeling itchy for some speed you can add a few strides at the end of an easy run--run fast for ~80 meters and then jog until recovered and repeat up to 6 times. Save that woohoo for the 10 miler! If that race goes well you should be ready to embark on a structured training plan for something in the fall--half-marathon, maybe?

The Salty One said...

Oh, I was so distracted by that finger wagging I forgot to talk about drinking on the run.

First, if you are well-hydrated before a 10 miler it is perfectly ok to not drink, especially if it isn't hot and humid. If I was running a race that I expected to last 1:20, I would probably drink water only once or twice. If I were you, I would take a cup at miles 2 and 6. Think of this race as practice for drinking. If it doesn't work out you'll be ok.

Also, Papa Louie is right, if you need to drink you're better off slowing down or walking to get it than not doing it. But, if you go into the race properly hydrated, you will probably only NEED to drink for a 10 miler to avoid ill health effects if it's exceptionally hot and humid, you're sweating much more than normal, or if you're out there considerably longer than 1:20. Also, if you're feeling light hieaded or nauseus or you are covered in salt you NEED to drink regardless of the weather, how long you've been out there, etc.

If you can't get any fluid in and you aren't exeriencing those symptoms, just be sure to drink some gatorade when you're done and throughout the day after the race.

As for strategy, here's what you do. Take the cup of water. Squeeze the top with your thumb and index finger so the sides make a slit. Then, pour some of the water out so it's not so full. Then lift the cup and drink out of the corner of the slit. It takes practice. I drink in shorter races even when I don't need to sometimes just to practice. Maybe get some paper cups and try it out before the race to ease your nerves?

Jim said...

Sowwwy to hear you have the sniffles. Feel better soon G!

Joe said...

For lack of a better strategy, the rule of thumb for pacing is to run the first third of the race so it feels a bit too easy, run the second third so it feels about right and run the last third so it feels a bit too hard. Believe it or not, that should give you an approximately even pace for the whole race.

More specifically, I've been monitoring your excellent progress and I believe you can hold at least 8 minute miles for the entire distance.

As for the drinking strategy, you should probably practice it in your training runs so that you are comfortable with it on race day. I recommend getting a fuel belt for training instead of one of those single bottle systems. The single bottom systems tend to bounce around too much.

Try plain water. Try Gatorade. See what you like best. I drink lemon lime Gatorade during long runs. I avoid all other flavors.

I would imagine that you'll finish the race in 1:20 or even 1:15. If it were me, I would probably hydrate at least once during that time. If you get comfortable with the fuel belt in training, you could use it during the race. Myself, I'm going to save the weight and just use the aid stations in my half marathon.

Have you tried gels like Gu? I find them helpful on long runs.

I hope this helps. The main point is to test your strategy BEFORE the race.

JenC said...

You've gotten lots of great advice about the hydration. Hopefully, I'll see you out at the 10-miler. I'd like to do it, but we'll see what the coach says. Hopefully, the weather will be better by then.

Oh, and Milwaukee has a retractable dome, which is why it is warmer there. It is weird that our "home" game is not at home though, but that field is a mess!